Aboriginal monumental stone-working in Northern Australia during the Pleistocene

Chris Urwin, Bruno David, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Joshua A. Bell, Jean-Michel Geneste

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Placements, arrangements, and constructions of large stones – most often termed
‘megalithic monuments’ – have long occupied the imagination of the global archaeological
community. So-called ‘megalithic traditions’ have been studied extensively in Central to
Northern Europe, and to a lesser extent in other parts of the world such as the Middle East,
parts of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Due to the nature of Australia’s relatively unique
archaeological record, and assumptions about ‘hunter-gatherer’ landscapes, it has often
been assumed that Australian Aboriginal populations did not (or could not) construct
monumental places from stone. Drawing on transdisciplinary research conducted over
the past decade, we show how large rock outcrops were carved out to create new forms
of monumental architecture in Northern Australia. We track back through time these
anthropically shifting shapes of monumental rock outcrops, with implications for how
Indigenous communities organized and marked their worlds more than , years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMegaliths of the World
EditorsLuc Laporte, Jean-Marc Large, Laurent Nespoulous, Chris Scarre, Tara Steimer-Herbert
Place of PublicationOxford Uk
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781803273211
ISBN (Print)9781803273204
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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